Steven P. Jobs

(Created by Alex Hall, History 135, July 2008)

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Jobs holding a MacBook Air at Macworld Conference & Expo 2008
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How did Steve Jobs revolutionize the computer, electronics, and music industries?

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Apple Logo, 1976-1998

Steve Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955 to biological parents Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali. He was put up for adoption for unknown reasons, and was adopted by Justin and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, California. Jobs initially became interested in electronics around the age of 11 with a neighbor/friend Bill Fernandez. In 1972, Jobs graduated from Homestead High School. Bill introduced Jobs to Steve Wozniak. Jobs and Wozniak sold blue boxes and small devices that would allow the calling of international numbers for free. He enrolled in Reed College. Eventually, Jobs realized that higher education would not give him what he expected in life; after six months he dropped out. In 1974, he returned to the United States, and began to attend meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club with Wozniak. When he was 19, he got a job at Atari, with the primary goal of saving up for a spiritual trip to India. He traveled throughout India for a month, with his best friend Dan Kottke, looking for enlightenment. Instead of enlightenment, he experienced disappointment. When Jobs returned, he learned that Wozniak had created a design for a personal computer (which he called Apple I). This marked the beginning of Apple Computer Inc, on April 1st, 1976.

The first sale of the Apple I happened at a local computer store, The Byte Shop. They bought fifty Apple computers at $500 each. In April 1977 at the West Coast Computer Faire, the Apple II was introduced. Wozniak’s new design, with its compactness, performance, and disk drives became an instant success. After introducing the Apple II, Jobs started on the next great project, Lisa. The main feature of Lisa was its Graphical User Interface (GUI). Also, this machine came with the first affordable mouse. Because of his managerial style, and the tension with Apple’s president Mike Scott, this lead to Jobs' exclusion from the Lisa project. Instead, Steve Jobs was named Chairman of the Board. Later, Jobs moved on to taking over a small R&D group working on a computer called the Macintosh (Mac). Both the Lisa and the Apple III, were attempts to respond to the release of the IBM PC. The Lisa, which was released on January 19, 1983, was a failure because of its high price. On January 24, 1984, the Macintosh was released to great fanfare. Unfortunately, it did not sell well. It did have some successes on US college campuses. This lead to increased tensions between Jobs and the new CEO John Sculley, which resulted in Jobs being removed from the Mac and Lisa divisions.

Steve Jobs, hired five people away from Apple, and created a new company NeXT Computer, Inc. Jobs initially aimed to make the perfect company, with first-class offices on the Stanford University campus, and a $100,000 logo created by the renowned Yale professor Paul Rand. On October 12th 1988, NeXT Computer released the NeXT Cube. It was an elegant machine with new technologies including an magneto-optical drive, Digital Signal Processor, and a built-in Ethernet port. This computer, was too expensive for the common education buyer. The NeXT Cube cost on average $6,000 when universities were asking for a $3,000 computer. These computers would sell slowly as a result. NeXT Computer, in September 1990 released the NeXT Station, which was an improvement over the Cube. Compared to other machines of the time, the NeXT Station was more compact and less expensive. The machine sold with a monochrome display for $5,000. Overall, these machines did not sell well, even with a new strategy of selling these machines through boutique dealers and through Japanese and American markets. This would result in the moving their focus from hardware to software.

In-between the creation of NeXT Computer, Jobs bought the computer division of George Lucas’ ILM (Industrial Lights & Magic) in 1986. This would be incorporated as Pixar Animation Studios. The company eventually had one product: the Pixar Image Computer. It was a $135,000 graphic workstation that was designed to run Pixar’s cutting-edge animation software Renderman. Because of its high price, it did not sell well. What prevented Jobs from shutting down Pixar was its nomination at the 1986 Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film, Luxo Jr. In 1991, Jobs signed a deal with Disney for Pixar to create a computer-animated feature film, Toy Story. The overall success of the movie would result in the continuation of Pixar. At this time Jobs took Pixar public, which resulted in Pixar being worth $420 million, with shares being valued at $1.5 billion.

Around 1995, Apple was in its lowest point in history. While it survived off the revenue from Macintosh sales, it was now faced with a new competitor, Microsoft. Microsoft transitioned from selling software for use for other computers (including Apple’s) to MS-DOS, an IBM-compatible operating system. Eventually Microsoft would create a GUI-façade to DOS called Windows. The release of Windows 95, in 1995 became the PC industry’s only standard. With the release of Windows 95, Apple's market share dropped to five percent. Apple’s CEO at the time, Gil Amelio looked for ways to save the company. What resulted from this was the buying of NeXT Software. Jobs was welcomed back and was given the position “informal adviser”. Because of two disastrous fiscal quarters under Amelio, Jobs overthrew him and became the interim CEO of Apple. He also purged the board of directors, canceled dozens of R&D products, and cut spending wherever he could. At Macworld on August 6th 1997, he announced a partnership with Bill Gates. Gates invested $150 million into Apple, and promised to release all future versions of Office for the Mac platform. This would result in Apple achieving profitability in 1998. The iMac was released on May 6th 1998, a colorful all-in-one computer. Overall, the iMac was a great success, and Apple was again regarded as the industry’s most innovative company.

In 2001, Apple released Mac OS X 10.0, the first version of Apple’s next generation operating system to replace the aging OS (Operating System) 9 operating system. This new OS was built on NeXTSTEP and also had a solid UNIX foundation. On October 23rd 2001, Apple introduced its first iPod, a digital music player. In 2002, because of the iPod success, it was made compatible with Windows PCs (Personal Computer). Apple later released the iTunes Music Store in April 2003. This was the first online music store to be supported by all four music labels (Sony BMG, EMI, Universal and Warner). As a result of this, the iPod and iTunes became the symbols of the digital music revolution. The relationship between Disney and Pixar degraded around 2005. Relations would improve in 2006, as a result of change of CEO from Michael Eisner to Bob Iger. After additional negotiations, Disney bought Pixar on January 24th 2006. On January 9th, 2007, Jobs would introduce the iPhone, the state of the art touch based mobile phone. With the releases of that and the AppleTV (A TV set top music and video player), Apple has now expanded further than just computers. On that same day, Jobs announced the change in name from Apple Computer to just Apple. Jobs in 2004 had to go through surgery to remove a very rare form of pancreatic cancer, and it was successful. In 2008 at Macworld he would introduce the second generation of the iPhone, which was released on July 11, 2008. Currently Steve jobs is considered one of the most prominent figures in technology, as well as the visionary leader of Apple and a key player in the entertainment company, Disney. He was named “most influential businessman on earth” by Fortune Magazines in 2008 for his roles in computer, music, animation, and phone industries.

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The Apple I

1955- Steven P. Jobs was born in San Francisco, and was adopted by Justin and Clara Jobs from Mountain View, California. Jobs biological parents were Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali.

1970- Jobs became friends with Steve Wozniak, when Jobs had a summer job at the same business (Haltek), where Wozniak worked as a systems programmer.

1972- Jobs graduated from high school from Homestead High School in Cupertino, California. He also enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He dropped out after one semester.

1974- Jobs returned to California, and started attending meets of the Homebrew Computer Club. He got a job as a technician at Atari, a manufacture of video games and systems, with a goal of saving money for a spiritual trip to India. After returning from India, he resumed working at Atari.

1976- Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer (April 1st); The Apple I is demonstrated at the Homebrew Computer Club. The first working Apple II is demonstrated at the Personal Computer Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

1977- The first Apple II's go on sale.

1978- Work begins on the Apple III.

1979- Jobs began his own project, to develop a machine called the Lisa.

1980- Apple Computer goes public; The Apple III is introduced at Disneyworld.

1983- The Lisa is launched. It is the first commercial GUI-based computer.

1984- The Macintosh is introduced.

1985- Steve Wozniak leaves Apple; The Apple board of directors vote for Jobs' removal. In September, Jobs announces his decision to form a new company, NeXT Computer Inc.

1986- Jobs announces that he discovered his biological family. He found his biological parents had given birth to a girl, Mona Simpson. Jobs also buys Lucasfilm's computer animation department in February 1986, which would be eventually called Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar also introduces the Pixar Image Computer, a 3D graphics workstation.

1988- The NeXT Cube is introduced.

1989- The NeXT Computer headquarters is moved to Redwood City, California. Pixar's short film Tin Toy wins the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. Jobs also drops the hardware division of Pixar, and fires half of Pixar's workforce.

1990- At the Davies Symphony Hall, Jobs introduces four computers: a faster NeXT Cube, an even faster NeXT Cube, the monochrome NeXT Station, and the NeXT Station Color.

1991- Steve marries Laurene Powell; She gives birth to Steve's son in September. The boy was named Reed Paul. Jobs signs a three picture deal with Disney. Production begins on the movie Toy Story.

1992- Jobs talks about the development of NeXTSTEP 486, a version of NeXTSTEP that would run on IBM compatible computers.

1993- Jobs shuts down NeXT's hardware division. The company's emphasis shifts towards software, and the company name is changed to NeXT Software, Inc.

1995- Toy Story is released in November, and is a critical success. Pixar also goes public.

1996- Jobs moves Pixar to new facilities in Emeryville, California. Apple Computer buys NeXT for $430 million. Jobs is appointed Informal Adviser at Apple Computer.

1997- Gil Amelio is ousted as Apple Computer's CEO on July 9. The Apple Computer Board of Directors is purged except for two members. Jobs joins the Apple Computer Board as well as being Pixar's CEO. At Macworld, Jobs announces an agreement with Microsoft. Steve officially becomes the interim CEO of Apple Computer.

1998- The iMac is unveiled on May 6th, at Flint Center in Cupertino, California. The Power Mac and PowerBook line-up are also revised.

1999- The color of Power Macs changes from beige to translucent colors similar to the iMac.

2000- During Macworld, Jobs announces his new offical title of Apple Computer CEO. The G4 Cube is released, and is considered a flop. Jobs also shows the first glimpse of Apple's next generation OS based on NeXTSTEP, OS X.

2001- iTunes is announced at Macworld. The iPod is introduced in October by Jobs. OS X 10.1 Puma is released in October. The first Apple Retail Store opens.

2002- OS X 10.2 Jaguar is released in September.

2003- Jobs introduces the iTunes Music Store. OS X 10.3 Panther is released in October.

2004- Jobs is diagnosed with cancer, with a tumor on his pancreas. Jobs undergoes surgery in July. That was successful.

2005- OS X 10.4 Tiger is released in April. In June, at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Jobs announces the switch from PowerPC to Intel chips. Jobs announces in October after the unveiling of the 5th Generation iPods, the opening of the iTunes video store.

2006- The first Intel-based Macs are released in January: iMac and Macbook Pro. The Intel translation is completed eight months later with the release of the Mac Pro. In January, Disney announces the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios. Steve Jobs becomes the largest individual shareholder of Disney.

2007- Jobs introduces the iPhone at Macworld. OS X 10.5 Leopard is released in October. He also announces the dropping of "Computer" from Apple Computer, and becoming Apple, Inc.

2008- On July 11th, the iPhone 3G was released.

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External Links

  • Steve Jobs- Wikipedia article on Steve Jobs, with links to additional info on Apple.
  • "How Big Can Apple Get?"- An interview with Steve Jobs from February 21, 2005, asking the questions about how he was able to bring back Apple from the brink of destruction, to prosperity.
  • All Things D, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (video and transcript of on stage interview)- A rare dual interview with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs interviewed at the same time.
  • "The trouble with Steve Jobs"- An article detailing the fact that Steve Jobs does things his own way from computers, stock options, to pancreatic cancer.
  • "Talk of Chief’s Health Weighs on Apple’s Share Price"- Article mentioning the issues of Jobs current health issues effecting the price of Apple Stock (July 23, 2008; May require login).
  • All About Steve.
  • Steve Wozniak- Wikipedia article detailing Co-founder of Apple Computer; Designer of the Apple I and Apple II.
  • History of Apple- Wikipedia article with an overview of the history of Apple from the the founding to the present.
  • NeXT Computer- Wikipedia article on the company Jobs founded after being ousted from Apple.
  • Site with a detailed listing of nearly all Apple products made since its inception.
  • The Apple Museum (Andy F. Mesa)- A site that has detailed information of Apple products, product codenames, and Timelines.
  • The Apple Museum (TAM)- Another Apple history site dedicated to the history of Apple and products.
  • Apple II History- A site dedicated to history of all iterations of the Apple II.
  • MacRumors- An site dedicated to the coverage of current and future Apple products. Highly recommended source towards recent information on Apple.
  • AppleInsider- Another "rumor" site dedicated to detailed coverage on current Apple products, and specific company details.
  • MacNN- Site dedicated towards news on Apple and Apple products.
  • "Steve's job: restart Apple" by Time Magazine
  • Smithsonian Institution Oral History Interview with Bill Gates
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Recommended Reading

Picture of iPhone 2.5G

Alan Deutschman, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs (2001)- A book detailing the end of Job's term working at Apple Computer, the formation of NeXT, the acquiring of Pixar, and his return to Apple.

Jeffery S. Young and William L. Simon, iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business. (2005) - A book that details Jobs' end at Apple in the 80's, to NeXT Computer, Pixar, and to Jobs return to Apple, including additional recent details than The Second Coming of Steve Jobs.

Steve Wozniak with Gina Smith, iWoz-Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I invented the person computer, co-founded Apple, and had fun doing it. (2006) - An autobiography of the co-founder of Apple Computer. This is also an additional viewpoint towards the early years of Apple Computer.

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"Steve Jobs." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 11 Jul 2008, 15:39 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 12 Jul 2008 <>.

"History of Apple." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 2 Jul 2008, 05:53 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 12 Jul 2008 <>.

Moisescot, Romain. "All About Steve - Biography." All About Steve. 27 Dec. 2007. 12 July 2008 <>.
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